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Although it carries pseudo marks, construction details suggest it is probably Dutch c.1700.

When the box was exhibited as part of the Swords and Sorrows exhibition organised by the National Trust for Scotland in 1996, a tentative opinion on its complex iconography was provided by eminent Cambridge historian Professor J.H. Plumb.

The sun is, via a pun, the son of Charles I, the central figure shown as a martyr in heaven, who will re-emerge like the moon from an eclipse. The tree and the city, both bathed in light, are the Boscobel Oak, commonly used as a symbol for Charles II during the Commonwealth, and the kingdom to which he will return.

He will reinstate the succession (the crown), royal authority (orb), the church (mitre), bring peace (the sceptre laid across the sword), restore the coinage (the gold pieces on the table), and hang his enemies (the halter).

According to Professor Plumb, the guineas on the table suggest, that the box can be dated to just after 1696 when the re-coinage by the government of William III created a chronic shortage of cash.

The rest of the story is told on a concealed cast and chased panel to the inner lid where a peaceful and plentiful countryside is broken by a pack of dogs gnawing the bones of the king’s enemies.

As something of a one-off – specialist Trevor Kyle considers it the only one of its type – it cannot have been easy to estimate but the £8000-12,000 guideline proved accurate.

In fine condition, it was bought at £9000 by a collector who had seen it at exhibition in 1996.